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Making Middle School Meaningful: A journey not a destination. Ms. Suzanne Cowper, Teacher Ms. Kathy Kelly, Teacher Dr. Greg Gelderman, Principal Heatherwood Middle School Everett Public Schools March 29, 2007. Making Middle School Meaningful.

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Making middle school meaningful a journey not a destination

Making Middle School Meaningful: A journey not a destination

Ms. Suzanne Cowper, Teacher

Ms. Kathy Kelly, Teacher

Dr. Greg Gelderman, Principal

Heatherwood Middle School

Everett Public Schools

March 29, 2007


Making middle school meaningful

Making Middle School Meaningful

  • Purpose: Communicate, provide some ideas (not programs) to consider.

  • Process: Share information, provide handouts, answer questions.

  • Pay-off: Leave with some questions and ideas that might be useful in working with Middle Level Educators.


The challenge making middle school meaningful

The Challenge: Making Middle School Meaningful

  • Critical Question: How can we lead Middle School students to become “self directed learners,” taking responsibility for their learning?

    • Analyzing data

    • Setting goals

    • Collecting and reflecting on evidence

    • Attending, participating, facilitating conferences


What do we know

What do we know?

  • What school variables are most strongly related to student achievement?

I am Mom and Dad’s best!


Remember the hedgehog concept

Remember the “Hedgehog Concept”

  • “Hedgehogs see what is essential, and ignore the rest”

  • What is essential to attaining and sustaining high levels of student achievement?


Build instructional capacity

Build Instructional Capacity

  • Create and nurture hope by:

    • Helping teachers realize the importance of instructional skill, and allow and expect them to teach effectively.

    • Focusing on “Value-Added” versus “Numerical Quotas.”

    • Sharing elements of high quality instruction “Instructional Look-Fors.”

  • If we are doing the right things instructionally, test scores will take care of themselves.


Making middle school meaningful a journey not a destination

  • Heatherwood Middle School: Instructional “Look-fors”

  • Guiding Questions

    • What do we want each student to learn?

    • How will we know if they have learned?

    • How do we respond when students don’t learn?

    • How do we respond if students already know the content?

  • Setting up the learning:

  • Entry task relevant to the learning (variety of tasks, individual, cooperative)

  • Learning goal/purpose for each lesson posted. Learning goals for the trimester communicated to students to

  • write in their Trimester Goal Sheets.

  • Engage Preconceptions/Activate Prior Knowledge. What do students know, or think they know about the

  • concept/new learning

  • Critical Vocabulary

  • 4 Ps (Preview, Purpose, Predict, Activate Prior Knowledge/Preconceptions)

  • Teaching new material

  • Teacher model (show and tell: “I do.”) Math-Launch: Science-Engage

  • Do together (“We do.”) Math-Explore: Science-Explore, Explain

  • Students do under teacher guidance/observation (“You do.”) Math-Summarize: Science-Elaborate

  • Students demonstrate/show understanding (“You show.”) Math-Closure/Evaluation: Science- Evaluate

  • Feedback that is timely and specific to improve performance

  • Lesson closure

  • Students reflect on the learning at the end of the lesson

  • Students complete planners

  • * Cooperative Learning integrated throughout the learning, i.e. entry task, as instructional strategy that promotes learning for all students


  • Increase leadership capacity

    Increase Leadership Capacity

    • Common Mission:

      The purpose of Heatherwood Middle School is to provide relevant, rigorous, engaging learning experiences for our students in a safe, caring, collaborative community.

      (Posted in every classroom and in common areas.)

    • Shared leadership and responsibility

      • Building Leadership Team

      • Site Council

      • Literacy and Math Facilitators

    • Common Planning Time


    Hwms a suburban school in an urban district

    HWMS: A suburban school in an urban district

    • Enrollment: October 2006:840 (936 in 2000)

    • Gender: October 2005

      • Male 52.6% (48.7% in 2000)

      • Female 47.4% (51.3% in 2000)

    • Ethnicity: October 2005

      • American Indian/Alaskan Native 1.8% (.7% in 2000)

      • Asian 16.8 % (15% in 2000)

      • Black 3.3 % (2.1% in 2000)

      • Hispanic 6.3% (4.3% in 2000)

      • White 70.6% (77.4% in 2000)

    • Special Programs

      • Free or Reduced-Price Meals 16.1% (7.8% 2001)

      • Special Education (May 10.6%

      • Transitional Bilingual 2.3%

      • Migrant 0.0%


    Making middle school meaningful a journey not a destination

    HWMS: 7th WASL


    Making middle school meaningful a journey not a destination

    HWMS: Value Added 7th Math, Reading, Writing

    Math

    Reading

    Writing


    Mslp a journey

    MSLP: A Journey

    • In 1997, Everett Public Schools began re-examining “what should each student know and be able to do by the time they complete middle school?”

      • Students needed to be actively engaged in learning and applying knowledge and skills in changing world.

      • Students needed to assume responsibility for their learning.


    Phase one the competencies

    Phase One: The Competencies

    • When looking at the transition from Elementary to High School specific competencies became apparent:

      • Self-directed learner

      • Effective communicator

      • User of skills and strategies

      • Effective problem solver


    Phase two evidence of learning

    Phase Two: Evidence of Learning

    • Improve academic achievement.

    • Set content area goals in all classes, monitor progress, collect evidence, and reflect on growth.

    • Present a public declaration of evidence of learning at the end of each school year.

      • Introduction of the Student Led Conference


    Phase three educational planning

    Phase Three: Educational Planning

    • Understanding the relationship between success in meeting academic requirements and future options.

    • Setting goals to achieve desired short-term and long-term educational options.

    • Introduction of trimester goal-setting cycle.


    Phase four individualizing

    Phase Four: Individualizing

    • Streamlined competencies to:

      • Self-directed learner

      • Effective Communicator

      • Effective Goal Setter

  • Each Middle School develops and aligns program with its community.

  • Three critical components at each Middle School:

    • Fall Conferences

    • Trimester Goal-setting cycle

    • Spring Student Led Conferences

  • At Heatherwood fall conferences have evolved into Goal-Setting Conferences and the development of the Student Learning Plan for each student.


  • Middle school learning portfolio mslp

    Middle School Learning Portfolio (MSLP)

    • A framework designed to:

      • Move students through challenging academic activities to develop the skills needed for lifelong learning.

      • Prepare students for success in High School by teaching them to set goals, monitor and reflect on progress.

      • Assist students in developing a high school and beyond plan that will meet state graduation requirements and open up post high school options.


    Mslp and lifelong learning

    MSLP and Lifelong Learning


    Mslp from a student s view

    MSLP from a student’s view

    • Students are actively engaged in the Goal Setting Cycle

      • Students work with components of the MSLP in each of their classes.

      • Teachers set class content goals, relate class content to the competencies, using common vocabulary, and allow students to select and reflect on their work in class.

      • These pieces are placed into a portfolio of student work.

      • Students attend portfolio classes that meet occassionally to collect work, reflect on their student learning plan and trimester academic achievments, and assemble their portfolios.

    • Students collect and analyze assessment data, and set year long goals to share with parents at Fall Goal-Setting Conferences.  

    • Students facilitate a Spring Student-Led Conference.


    What is a portfolio

    What is a Portfolio?

    • A binder of evidence that serves as a record of learning.

      • The focus of the portfolio is on students’ work and their reflection on their achievement.

      • The portfolio is kept in Portfolio Class

    • A record of academic achievment with test scores, trimester records of progress, and a map of courses available to them.

    • A home for creation of career interests.


    How does mslp benefit students

    How does MSLP benefit students?

    • Middle School Learning Portfolio provides students with opportunities to: 

      • Assume responsibility for improvement in their academic work.

      • Derive a sense of achievement.

      • Communicate their strengths and areas of growth with others.

      • Develop insights into their own learning.


    Mslp timeline

    MSLP Timeline

    Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb March April May June

    Collect evidence and reflect on progress

    Prepare for Student-Led Conferences

    Prepare growth portfolio

    Student-Led Conference

    Goal setting cycle

    * Set Goals

    *Collect evidence

    and reflect on

    Progress

    * Goal-Setting

    Conferences


    Middle school learning portfolio mslp three critical components

    Middle School Learning Portfolio (MSLP): Three Critical Components

    • Fall Goal-Setting Conferences (GSC) 2005

    • Goal Setting 2003

    • Spring Student-Led Conferences (SLC)2003


    Goal setting conferences

    Goal-Setting Conferences

    • Began fall 2005

    • Staff initiative

      • Less than 50% of parents attending arena conferences.

      • Grades were on-line so parents knew how students were doing.

      • Students did not attend traditional arena conferences.

      • Goal of developing a Student Learning Plan for each student.


    Goal setting conferences1

    Goal-Setting Conferences

    • Purpose: Review student assessment data, SMART goals from each class, initial goals from Student-Led Conference previous spring and draft a Student Learning Plan for the current year.

    • Process:EACH student and parent would have a 20 minute conference with one of the student’s teachers. Teacher would facilitate the conference, which is scripted.

    • Pay-off: Students take an active role in planning their learning for the year.


    Goal setting conferences outcomes

    Goal-Setting Conferences: Outcomes

    • 92% of parents attended 2005 and 2006.

    • Less than 50 requests each year for a conference with another teacher.

    • Increased staff understanding, commitment to building, district and state assessments.

    • Fall 2007, Student Learning Plan will be on NCR so parents can take a copy home.


    Trimester goal setting cycle

    Trimester Goal Setting Cycle

    • Purpose: Teach students to set, monitor, reflect on progress, and set new goals as a tool to increase student learning.

    • Process: Students set SMART goals in each class every trimester; collect and reflect mid trimester and end of trimester.

    • Pay-off: Increase student learning by teaching students to assume responsibility for their learning.


    The goal achievement cycle

    The Goal Achievement Cycle


    Trimester goal setting cycle1

    Trimester Goal Setting Cycle

    • SMART Goal

      • Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Time-bound

    • Collection/Reflection

      • Mid-trimester

      • End of trimester

    • Monitor, plot progress


    Heatherwood middle school projected number of years to complete high school name

    Heatherwood Middle SchoolProjected number of years to complete High School Name: _______________________________

    GPA_____________


    Student led conferences

    Student-Led Conferences

    • Purpose: Each student will facilitate a spring Student-Led Conference that reviews learning from current year and drafts initial learning goals for the next year.

    • Process: Students share annual progress on goals and assessments with parents, as well as their drafted learning goals for the next year.

    • Payoff: Students and parents complete reflection and set initial goals for the following year.


    What is a student led conference

    What is a Student-Led Conference?

    • A formal conference, facilated by the student, with a parent or other important adults in their life.

      • The student discusses their learning, educational goals, and strategies used to meet those goals.

    • A presentation before an authentic/high stakes audience.

      • Having an audience that a student knows and cares about gives them a purpose for collecting work samples, talking about their learning, and showing their skills.


    Why student led conferences

    Why Student-Led Conferences? 

    • A forum where students provide evidence (student work) that indicates knowledge and skills they have acquired.

    • An active learning experience/celebration where students have opportunities to self-assess and evaluate their work, and to accept greater responsibility for their learning.

    • Research and experience supported benefits such as:

      • Strong sense of accountability/responsibility for self-evaluation of progress.

      • Increased sense of pride in achievement.

      • Development of student leadership skills.

      • Productive student-teacher relationships.

      • Increased parental participation in conferences.

      • Heightened teacher focus on instruction aligned with standards and competencies.


    What does a student led conference look like

    What does a Student-Led Conference look like?

    • Students share their growth portfolio with their parents to:

      • Celebrate learning over the year as they share academic progress.

      • Discuss how well they have met goals through the year.

    • Parent and student identify an area for improvement/ growth and set a goal to begin at the start of the next academic year of how to improve or maintain their progress.

    • Parents are encouraged to ask questions such as:

      • What can you tell me about this assignment?

      • What skills did you use?

      • What would you do next time to improve your work?

      • How does this portfolio show growth throughout the year?

      • What goals have you set? Can we set any together?

      • How can I help you meet your goals for next year?


    What is a parent s role during the student led conference

    What is a parent’s role during the Student-Led Conference?

    • Be a good listener.

    • Talk and ask questions about the work/evidence.

    • Identify ways to support student learning.


    What is a teacher s role in the student led conference

    What is a teacher’s role in the Student-Led Conference?

    • Provide students an opportunity to collect, select, and organize student work in the portfolio.

    • Provide time to practice for the student-led conference.

    • Arrange private conferences if requested.

    • Act as a host and be available for assistance if necessary during the conference.


    Student led conferences outcomes

    Student-Led Conferences: Outcomes

    • All students conference.

      • If a parent doesn’t come to the conference, students conference with another adult, i.e., staff and/or community member.

    • Students are doing the work.

      • Reflecting on their own progress.

      • Setting goals for the coming year.


    Final reflections questions

    Final Reflections/Questions

    • “Victory is in the classroom,” John Stanford.


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